WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — One of the most exciting parts of Hotter ‘N Hell weekend is the beloved Criterium Races.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2023, reporter Markeshia Jackson learned a little more about what all goes into the races.

“So the Crit races are just local races,” FallsTown Cycling President Ron Hammons said. “They’re on a circuit course right here in downtown. It’s all on the street, spectator-friendly. You get to get right in the midst of all the action.”

The Crits race through the downtown streets at breathtaking speeds, full of tight turns and laps, but this year, organizers said the design of things is a little different.

“In years past, we had a road race and just two criteriums,” race director Pablo Cruz said. “This year, we’re gonna have three criteriums in downtown Wichita Falls, all together downtown for three days, and Saturday’s gonna be an evening event so it’s gonna go all the way to 9 p.m. People who do the ride in the morning can come out and support the criteriums.”

The extra races give them a chance to put the best of Wichita Falls cycling on display, all while bringing plenty of foot traffic to our local businesses downtown.

“The best way is just to come out and watch,” Hammons said. “We’ve moved the Crits here to support downtown. Restaurants will be open, 8th Street Coffee, [which] is not normally open, they’ll be open. From the time we start to finish on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday, we move to the other side of Scott.”

Even if you’re not hitting the road as a racer, just showing your support will be greatly appreciated. Plus, there’s even going to be a block party that Friday.

“There’s gonna be live music both Friday and Saturday night, and that’s all free,” Hammons continued. “There will be food trucks.”

All in all, the organizers said, they want the Crit Races to be enjoyable for participants.

“It’s also fun being on this side of the road. Just watching, putting everything together and seeing people having fun as well. That’s important to us,” Cruz said.

The countdown for the most action-packed cycling weekend continues! For registration and more information on the Criterium Races, visit their website.